The Absolute Best Grim Dawn Build
Current master of the ARPG throne -- especially for fans of grimdark fantasy and horror -- Grim Dawn is about to get a major update with a whole new mastery class to play.
Before that highly anticipated Necromancer becomes available though, there are still dozens of potential mastery combo builds to try out. We've previously looked at some of the more fun mastery builds, but now its time to get down to the real goods: what's the single, absolute best Grim Dawn build available?
Picking The Best Mastery Combo
The answer to that question is that there's at least five "best" builds, depending on your play style: melee, ranged, caster, hit and run, or the tank. Among those five varied styles, there are still two different ways to approach which is the "best" -- either the highest damage per second output, or the best survivability.
There are plenty of mastery combos that can deal ungodly amounts of damage (the Nightblade mixed with just about anything immediately comes to mind) but they are also quite squishy, making it difficult to survive after you leave Normal difficulty behind and head into later stages of the game. The Sorcerer combo for instance (Arcanist + Demolitionist) can deal huge damage to large groups, but requires quick reflexes as you run around the screen like mad to avoid getting hit back.
For our best Grim Dawn build, we're going to focus on the survival aspect, with respectable damage output, for a tank who rarely goes down and will allow you to survive the most devastating enemies at the highest difficulty levels.
Keep in mind that most builds can be drastically altered by your equipment choices, since there's a very random element there in what weapons and armor you'll find you in your playthrough, as well as what path you are taking along the constellation when you unlock Devotion Shrines.
Best Grim Dawn Build - Warder
We're going with a Shaman + Soldier combo to create the Warder. The focus here is on high health, massive defense, quick regeneration, and equipping absolutely any item with reflection or retaliation so you never go down and always take out enemies when they hit you.
We're going to eventually max out the Soldier mastery bar entirely. The Shaman mastery bar will end at 25, but we're actually going to start on the Shaman side as the first class.
First up, grab Devouring Swarm on the Shaman side as your primary attack at low levels (this is costly on energy, but well worth it). If you want to branch out, Savagery and Grasping Vines are decent, but don't go too far on those.
At level 10, switch to Soldier and focus on Menhir's Will to keep you alive (don't forget you need a two-handed weapon or shield for this skill to work). This is the skill that keeps you alive for longer periods. When it triggers, get out of the throng of enemies and wait to recover so the cooldown period ends.
Around level 15, switch back to Shaman and work on Modrogen's Pact and Heart Of The Wild. Next, fully upgrade Wendigo Totem and Oak Skin for huge bonuses to healing while draining enemies of health.
Around level 29 - 30, switch back to Soldier and pump up the mastery bar, while maxing out Military Conditioning, Shield Training (if you are doing a shield instead of two handed), Overguard, Decorated Soldier, Field Command, and Veterancy. These will keep you up at maximum health and defense while doling out decent damage.
When you're around 40 - 45, its time to let go of Devouring Swarm, which won't be as helpful anymore, so respec and put all those points into the Soldier mastery bar and maxing out the previously mentioned skills.
From there, focus on Menhir's Bulwark (with a shield equipped and this skill maxed out, you will absorb and retaliate huge amounts of damage). Now finish off the build with maxing out Scars of Battle and (on the Shaman side) Modrogen's Pact.
Tweaks To The Build
This Warder build is extremely effective against melee combatants, but it does have one Achilles Heel: ranged spellcasters are a problem. So get close to them to force them into melee. And of course putting a few points into the Soldier skill Break Morale can rectify this to a degree.
In terms of equipment, a full set of Perdition items vastly builds on the Warder's strengths -- but in general, pick up anything that adds reflection or retaliation.
For the Devotion constellation path, Tortoise and Wolverine are both excellent choices, since they even further increase your defense, and Scales Of Ulcama is another great choice for upping health and regeneration.
Of course, there's other possible routes to take to reach an invincible killing machine, such as switching up which class is the primary or connecting a different secondary to the Soldier.
What's your preferred build, and how could we tweak this best Grim Dawn mastery build to make it even tankier? Let me know down in the comments! And be sure to check out the rest of our Grim Dawn guides for even more tips to help you get through the game.